When you initially obtain your medical marijuana card and visit a dispensary, cannabis will have different markings to consider. While you will see strain names and THC percentages, you will also see products marked with Sativa, Indica, or hybrid. The difference between Indica vs Sativa vs hybrid can matter, but perhaps not as much as some suspect.
Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid – What do these designations mean?
Initially, Sativa, Indica, and hybrid were all terms used by cultivators to reference the genetics of cannabis plants or the physical traits of that plant. There are different types of cannabis that belong to the same family of plants, and each can have its own physical traits and characteristics. However, over the years, people began to recognize Sativa, Indica, and hybrid as types of cannabis that produced certain effects. Today, some have moved away from associating the three designations with the actual effects of the strain. Take a closer look below.
The general understanding is Indica cannabis strains are more relaxing or sedating. While this can be true with some Indica strains, not all Indica strains are calming by nature. Indica plant characteristics tend to be more “chunky.” The plant does not grow as tall, the leaves are broader, and the flowering clusters may be more condensed on the stem.
Sativa strains are often thought to be energizing, which can be true with some cultivars but not all of them. Sativa plants tend to grow taller, skinnier, and a bit lanky. The leaves are thinner and elongated, usually pointed, and the bud clusters may be more spread out.
Hybrid strains are usually assumed to offer a more balanced set of effects; not too sedating, and not overly energizing. The majority of commercially available strains are considered “hybrids” because they are a mix between Sativas and Indicas. You may notice quite a few strains that state they are “Sativa-dominant” or “Indica-dominant” for example. These plants can take on characteristics of both Indica and Sativa plants.
What’s the differences between Sativa Indica and Hybrid?
Sativa, Indica, and hybrid cannabis are all cannabis types, and they may not have as much bearing on the effects as suspected. In reality, the primary differences in the different designations are more associated with the genetics and appearance of the plant. Cannabis has different effects based on the plant’s active compounds.
Sativa vs Indica vs Hybrid Effects
Many people will state there is a big difference between a Sativa vs Indica vs hybrid high. As noted above, the consensus is that Sativa strains tend to offer a more uplifting or energetic high, Indica strains are more relaxing or sedating, and hybrids are a balance between. While these beliefs can be true with some strains, the Sativa, Indica, and hybrid designations are not always straightforward predictors of what the effects will be. Cannabinoid and terpene content are more important to consider.
Cannabinoid Concentrations and Effects
Each cannabis strain offers its own unique profile of cannabinoids. Cannabinoids like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are chemical constituents in cannabis that interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the human body. Therefore, cannabinoids are the most predictive of how a certain strain will affect an individual after consumption. For example, a strain high in THC is more psychoactive, a strain high in CBD may be less psychoactive, and a strain high in CBN (cannabinol) may be more sedating.
Terpene Concentrations and Effects
Terpenes are aromatic compounds that give each strain its unique aroma and flavor. For example, a strain like Lemon Haze is high in limonene, which is a terpene known for its citrus flavor and aromatics. Therefore, Lemon Haze naturally has a pleasant citrus flavor. But beyond altering how a strain tastes or smells, terpenes may also have biological actions. For example, limonene is said to be good for mood stability, anxiety, and depression. Likewise, a strain high in myrcene may be more sedative, or a strain high in caryophyllene may be good for pain.
Final Thoughts from Compassionate Care Consultants
There is so much we are only starting to understand about the diversity of the cannabis plant. However, the more states grow accepting of cannabis as medicine, the more doors open for research initiatives that offer insight into the differences in different types of plants. Do you need help obtaining your medical marijuana card? Reach out to schedule your consultation with Compassionate Care Consultants.